What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are mechanisms that enable two or more software components to communicate with each other using established protocols and definitions.
Within the context of an API, the term “application” refers to any software that has a distinct function, such as verifying the legitimacy of an identity document. The term “interface” can be understood as a contract/agreement between two or more applications that define how those applications work together and communicate.
Why are APIs so Useful?
An API is an incredibly flexible tool that can be created and used to complete a wide variety of tasks. APIs can be customized to suit the exact needs of a client, thereby ensuring that a user is equipped with an API tailored to meet their exact needs.
Furthermore, by integrating an API, a user can automate processes that may previously have required an employee to sit and labouriously conduct the process manually, wasting time and resources in the process. In such a context, the use of an API creates value within the company by freeing up employees whose skills can be better spent elsewhere in the company.
APIs are especially useful for the processing of significant amounts of requests and the management of large batches of data. For example, banks employ dozens of APIs due to the sheer scale of the service requests and data validation that such institutions need to process on an hourly basis.
The following use cases best show APIs can be used to automate tasks related to identity verification, enhanced due diligence, digital onboarding, information validation and risk assessment.
API for Automated Identity Verification
Identity verification – a process that has the potential to be slow, inefficient and costly – has been revolutionized by smart technologies and the integration of APIs.
APIs empower businesses to automate all these processes and ensure that they are not only carried out seamlessly, but also extremely quickly – today, the verification of customer identities takes only minutes and is effortless for the customer.
Large financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies will need to make use of APIs due to the sheer number of identity verification requests that need to be carried out. For example, every time a customer applies for a credit card or requests a new insurance policy, the identity of that customer needs to be verified. Identity verification on such a scale is only feasible with the usage of APIs.
API for Customer Digital Onboarding
Onboarding is one of the most important parts of the customer journey. Because sign-up is one of the customer’s first experiences with the company, a bad onboarding process can turn the customer away and lose their business.
More intensive customer onboarding processes – such as those that require identity verification and data validation – have the potential to be arduous, inefficient, and frustrating. It is in these circumstances that APIs offer the greatest value for customer onboarding.
By enabling the digitalization of the customer onboarding process, APIs enable customers to submit all the documentation necessary for the verification of their identity from the comfort of their home, as well as receive the verification of their identity in a matter of minutes. This not only saves the business time and money, but also offers a world-class customer experience and ensures high levels of customer satisfaction.
API for Employee Digital Onboarding
APIs allow businesses to automate and seamlessly integrate these processes into their human resources departments.
Businesses with a high staff turnover – examples include large retail chains and manufacturing companies – need to easily and quickly vet and onboard new employees.
The integration of APIs allows this onboarding process to be conducted seamlessly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Whereas in the past this onboarding process may have required a large human resources department to manually process every new employee, the integration of APIs enables the entire process to be automated, thereby saving the business time and money and improving the experience for new employees.
API for Information Validation
Businesses can use APIs to automate and streamline information validation procedures. By using an API for information validation processes, businesses can reduce costs and streamline cumbersome administrative tasks such as client onboarding or the management of a customer base, while still maintaining the highest standards for data accuracy, security, and customer experience.
API for Risk Assessment
By integrating an API, businesses can complement an effectively implemented risk-based approach and ensure the highest standards of regulatory compliance, all while reducing costs and streamlining workflows.
Identity Verification Services South Africa
As South Africa’s leading provider of world-class due diligence and digital-onboarding solutions, ThisIsMe is proud to be at the forefront of a trust-based and privacy-compliant digital world. Our suite of enhanced due diligence services offers a wide array of identity verification, data validation, risk assessment and automated digital onboarding solutions.
To find out more about how ThisIsMe’s solutions and advanced API integration can serve your business, book a demonstration by contacting our team here.